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    West Kowloon Reclamation — Part Two

    by Bernard Chan

    This is a continuation of an article begun last week about a competition held in Hong Kong to develop ideas for a master plan for the West Kowloon Reclamation site. The top five projects were described last week. Here we'll look at their similarities and differences. — Editor

    Given the context of the site, a peninsula of reclaimed land in Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, it is not surprising that none of the five winning schemes opts for a vertical approach. In fact, most schemes confront the hard edge of the highrise city terminating at Austin Road to the north of the site and along Canton Road to the southeast.

    Two schemes adopt a "stepped approach," with a descending skyline toward the waterfront. The general approach of all schemes is a linear, low-rise mass set against the vertical backdrop to emphasize the interplay of contrasting horizontality and verticality.

    Landscape plays a major role in all five proposals. This varies from making nearly the entire site a green space to leaving open only isolated areas. Most of the schemes are inspired by the proximity of Kowloon Park, and they conceptually extend the park into the site.

    Attitudes toward the Waterfront

    Because the site is a peninsula, water is an unmistakable natural element in the surroundings. Three of the five schemes bring water into the site as a major design feature, while water is less dominant in the other two.

    Being located on possibly the best position to view the harbor and across to the Manhattan-like skyscrapers, the preferred approach of most schemes is to frame specific buildings and vistas rather than provide an unrestrained view.   >>>

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    The prize-winning scheme for Hong Kong by Foster and Partners encloses most of the vast site under a single canopy.
    Image: Foster and Partners

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    Most of the cultural facilities in the Foster and Partners scheme are actually below grade, leaving generous open space in the otherwise dense city.
    Image: Foster and Partners

     

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